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Solar panels.
 
 
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tumblindown
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:30 am 
Post subject: Solar panels.
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How much for the kit to run a large tank of water suficient for 4 people to have showers at the end of the day?

How much for fitting or is it a possible DIY solution?
  
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Tabbul
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:49 am 
Post subject: Re: Soplar panels.
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tumblindown wrote:
How much for the kit to run a large tank of water suficient for 4 people to have showers at the end of the day?


That's a rather broad question, which day in particular as hot water for a shower on Christmas day will need more panels than say 15th of August, is it going to be roof mounted or ground, will you have tree coverage, if so what type of trees and how much foliage will fall onto you panels.

There are website that will tell you the basic requirement if all things are equal and you have optimum use of the sun but all other variables you will need to know and factor in.

Most of the good companies are unlikely to "guarantee" a figure without them massively over engineering to ensure the promised supply.
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tumblindown
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:55 am 
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I was hoping for a ballpark figure, or some basic figures for what other people have on their property.

We have solar water panels here in the UK, they work brilliantly from April to October, so I'm not expecting much more in BG because of the temperatures. The tank size here only guarantees 2 maybe 3 reasonable showers one after another, but if the sun has been bright all day the water is piping hot and we can all have a decent shower as we have to turn the shower temperature down or end up scalding ourselves.
  
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Moscow_Wolf
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:56 am 
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You need to start by calculating how much hot water you will use per 24-hour period. I believe that the good guides will suggest that you should calculate on 50 litres of hot water per person per day, but that might well be excessive for some families or, not enough for those (like my Wife) who would spend hours in the bath refiling it with hot water and is why we only have a shower. Laughing

You can buy a solar panel with its own water tank that fits on your roof and you have probably seen them in places like Greece and Italy etc. They are sold here, but my Plumber and Heating Engineer doesn't recommend them as he says the water tank tends to freeze and spoil during the winter, but if you're in a position to drain it down then, it should survive.

I installed (had installed) everything to allow for 300 litres of hot water for 6 people so have 3 x solar panels, a 300 litre hot water tank with 80 litres being able to be heated by electricity when there is no sun or the Petcka is not running which also heats hot water.

One solar panel is more than enough to start with here as I always go OTT and plan on a bigger scale than I will probably ever need. However, the only downside with all of this boiling hot water in summer is that, you don't bloody need it. At the end of a long hot day, you want a cooling or cold shower. Laughing

I produce so much surplus that I could fill a swimming pool with hot water, but I don't have one. I don't know if you can find hot fill washing machines nowadays, but I wish I had taken the time to find out as I only put a cold water fill pipe and tap to the washing machine.

We have a small 9 setting dishwasher that we haven't used in over 2 years now, but again, if I could hot fill that then, it might be worth stacking the dishes in it during summer.

TBH, I started out showering under the plum tree with a few bits of tarpaulin and plastic sheeting stapled to some sticks for privacy and the water was heated in a hosepipe from the sun. It only lasted for around a minute before the icy water from the borehole reached you, but it was refreshing. With hindsight, and being careful of things like legionnaires disease, I should have built a strong wooden tower frame, mounted an oil drum, filled it from a hose and allowed the sun to provide all of my shower water.

Even those cheapish solar camping shower bags are better than nothing when needs must.
  
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Moscow_Wolf
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 2:59 pm 
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I am guesstimating that around a 1000 Leva a solar panel with installation depending who you use, but then there are the pumps, your water tank, thermostats, immersion heaters, electricity supply and whatever. Ours are South facing panels, but you could get away with Easterly to Westerly facing panels here during the summer. The best ones are the ones that track the Sun, but that is surely expensive.

Prices might have gone down or up as new technology and quality of solar panels improves; my system is already 5 years old.
  
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Seedy
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 3:47 pm 
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My in-laws use a black-painted (well cleaned!) oil drum mounted on a home-made angle-iron frame on the roof - they never need to heat any water for a good half of the year. There's nothing to stop you putting several drums up there and piping the water to wherever you want it. In France we used old radiators painted black up on the roof - it's surprising how quickly they heat up the water due to the larger surface area....
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tumblindown
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:27 pm 
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The radiator/ drum idea is a 'whilst we renovate' option. But I would put it in a glass or plastic covered frame (cold frame) to stop heat loss from the wind or occasional rain.

Now if the radiators were at ground level, facing south, and the storage tank was upstairs/ uphill from it. You could have a sealed unit, where the radiator water stayed in the pipe (anti-freeze?) and the pipe passed through the hot water tank. If the radiators were low enough, there would be a natural syphon effect as the cold water circulated down to the rads and the hot water circulated upward. Hmmm! a possibility.
  
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Simonita
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:33 pm 
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A lot of the houses in our village have the kind of shower arrangement described by Seedy. These showers can't function all year round, and it does make you wonder exactly how much washing goes on in winter. I suspect it's better not to ask. Two things I have never seen in BG are the tin baths that were such a feature of poorer houses in the UK even in my lifetime, or the coppers that were used to heat the water for them.  
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jadamwilliams
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:46 pm 
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the boiler from a solid fuel shower boiler often called a "silistra boiler" are very effective used in the way as described by seedy .. as they have a flue hole through them , increasing surface area to volume ratio .. and have all the plumbing fittings on them already . you can connect them to the mains supply or a well pump with pressure switch and the use the water pressure to force the water out .. they also have a cold water outlet built in , which is needed in summer to avoid scolding .. this year I am going to try connecting a thin panelled radiator below the boiler , painted matt black. The radiator collects the heat and the hot water will rise into the boiler and the cold water from the boiler will feed back to the radiator .. which hopefully means will be useable for more months of the year .. and provide a full 80litre tank of hot water .. if it gets really hot will have to start thinking about steam power !
main disadvantage of this is an uninsulated boiler cools down fairly quickly when it gets dark ..
a friend also painted black one of those concrete clothes washing things he had in his garden and filled it in morning and by evening has a nice hot bath but needs to be full summer for that
  
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tumblindown
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 10:30 pm 
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When we stayed at graistephil's house. he had two brown 2 litre bottles propped in the sun, buy Tea time they were hot enough to wash the pots by.  
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sparks
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 6:54 am 
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Solar collector from 370 lv in Targovishte, 80 - 100ltr tank with serpentine coil 200 lv piping is cheap less than 50lv for most houses, I fitted my own, set it so it uses thermosyphon to move the heat around so no pump needed. filled with antifreeze and being maintenance free for 4 years now  
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tumblindown
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:59 am 
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Thank you Sparks.

If I get somewhere that can take the underfloor heating I will be coupling whatever hot water system to the underfloor heating as well. So a pump will be needed for that.
  
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Moscow_Wolf
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 7:18 am 
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Simonita wrote:
A lot of the houses in our village have the kind of shower arrangement described by Seedy. These showers can't function all year round, and it does make you wonder exactly how much washing goes on in winter. I suspect it's better not to ask. Two things I have never seen in BG are the tin baths that were such a feature of poorer houses in the UK even in my lifetime, or the coppers that were used to heat the water for them.


When we lived in the caravan we used to go into one room of the old non-renovated house during the winter months, light the old smoking Petchka, boil large pans of water, put some plastic sheeting down on the floor, stand in a plastic bowl as we couldn't find a tin one or a tin bath as you describe and pour water over each other in turn for a decent scrub up.

However, I have no idea how the locals do it as we don't have mains water in our village and most only have a surface laid cold water supply via a hosepipe from a Well.

I have seen those solid fuel shower contraptions in one of Karnobat's Hardware Stores - looks quite interesting shall look more closely next time.
  
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